Bordered on the North by Rancier Avenue (FM 439) and on the South by Veterans Memorial blvd. (Business 190), Downtown Killeen is centrally located in the heart of the city right outside of Fort Hood's East Gate. The historic core of downtown, listed on the Ntional Register of Historic Places, is where the City's story began over 125 years ago. Come experience some of the original developments built in the late 1800's when the railroad first came to town. Visit the restored Santa Fe Depot now housing the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce, or take a stroll along Avenue D and imagine the City of Killeen's first hardware store, blacksmith shop, saloons and general stores. The streets were bustling with excitement and downtown had everything you needed.
Unique to the City of Killeen, downtown also features an array of mid-century development highlighting the second boom in our history when the The Great Place of Fort Hood was established in 1950. This event expanded the footprint of downtown to include new and exciting buildings with innovative structural designs and dramatic features. In just a few historic blocks you can experience both periods of growth in our history and enjoy the unique and authentic environment that Downtown Killeen has to offer. Visit downtown today and explore where our story began.
Downtown streetscaping is now complete! The City of Killeen, with the support of a $2,557,897 TxDOT enhancement grant, recently completed a downtown streetscaping project to replace sidewalks, revamp streets, add irrigated landscaping, install new lighting, install a mid-block plaza, and add decorative crosswalks along a portion of six streets in the historic downtown core. The streetscaping improvements also include an extension of the Andy K. Wells Hike and Bike Trail that now connects Downtown to the Killeen Community Center with a fresh lighted trail.
This initial streetscaping effort took shape in the historic core of downtown, where culture and community come together to create a unique and authentic environment for citizens and visitors alike. The Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places showcasing original development in the late 1800's when the railroad first came to town along with mid-century development highlighting the establishment of The Great Place of Fort Hood in 1950. Downtown is full of excitement and new opportunities. Visit downtown today and experience where our story began over 125 years ago.
The building which houses Killeen City Hall is now included in the National Register of Historic Places. The Texas Historical Commission nominated the site for its architectural and historical significance, and it was selected for the national listing.
The building is officially listed in the Register as Killeen High School as it was named when completed in 1924, but most knew it as Avenue D School. It was Killeen’s only school from its opening until the 1940s. All grades attended classes in the building. It transitioned to an elementary school in 1949 and remained so until 1981.
It was actually the second public school built on the site. The first was built in 1902 but was destroyed by fire in 1923. It was replaced by the current structure, which opened to students February 1, 1924. Designed by C.H. Leinbach, the school is a more modern take on collegiate Gothic style and is one of the few pre-World War II buildings in existence outside the Downtown Historic District.
The City of Killeen acquired the school building in 1993, and opened it as City Hall in 1995. While modified for its current use, much of the original structure remains intact including its red brick façade, boy’s and girl’s entrance markers and wood floors. Another interesting feature is the repurposing of the school’s cafetorium for use as City Council Chambers.
The City of Killeen has made an asserted effort to preserve history in the community. The Killeen Downtown Historic District, also listed in the National Register, is located between Avenue B and Santa Fe Plaza and North 4th Street to North 8th Street though many historic properties stretch beyond these bounds. Through a Downtown Plan, historic overlay district, design guidelines and incentives and grants, the City hopes to encourage revitalization and preserve Killeen’s historic resources for future generations. More information about Downtown Killeen is available online at KilleenTexas.gov/Downtown.
The National Register of Historic Places is a program of the National Park Service. It is the nation’s official list of historically significant properties that are worthy of preservation. Killeen’s school building joins more than 3,100 sites in Texas and more than 80,000 in the United States.
The Killeen Downtown Historic District has achieved listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The area has been recognized for its historical and architectural significance to the city and country.
The district is roughly bounded by Santa Fe Plaza, Avenue B, 4th Street and 8th Street. It is almost completely commercial in nature and features buildings built between 1895 and 1960. Historically significant properties range from a late 19th century Romanesque Revival bank to early 20th century stone and brick commercial buildings to early postwar modern offices and stores. Several churches also contribute to the area's historic significance.
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation's official list of cultural resources deemed worthy of preservation and includes more than 3,000 listings in Texas. Listing affords properties a measure of protection from the possible impact of federally funded projects, technical expertise and grant funds for restoration and preservation and federal tax benefits for rehabilitation of certain properties.
For more information about Killeen's Downtown revitalization efforts, see below.
The Downtown Partnership Committee, Heritage Preservation Board, and the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Board all play a vital role in guiding downtown development efforts. All Killeen residents and business owners are encouraged to attend and be a voice in the community and in the future of Downtown Killeen.